Archive for August, 2007

Was wondering the other day, sipping tea and gazing lazily into the cupboards in front, about how when we go deeper into subjects the ‘dots begin to connect’ and the out of sheer chaos how order becomes visible. Been watching a Sitcom a lot of late. ‘ED’ is about Edwards J Stevens a lawyer who owns a bowling alley and prefers not to be called the ‘Bowling alley lawyer’ 😀

In one of his episodes a character gives a message that when things go really wrong and nothing seems to be working our way, one should hang on and stay put. Bad times will pass. Should not indulge in self-doubt or loose faith in one self. I am not new to this concept and might add a few lines to that; one should never ‘short’ his dreams or ‘long’ a compromise solution. In layman’s terms that would be translated (somewhat fancifully) as “Don’t give up, Don’t Give in“. Our Grandma’s never tire of sermonizing the fact we can rarely come across someone who fulfilled his dreams or became anything of worth without having made to sweat-out for it.

Paul Cohelo in his revolutionary book ‘The Alchemist’ says that once we have made our intentions clear that we want what we want and will not stop till we get what we want, the whole worlds starts to conspire to help us achieve that. But what he does not talk about is the intermediary period when the world goes about testing the intensity of our desire to have it and for what its worth makes us literally bleed through the nose to have it. Steve Jobs talked about connecting the dots and the fact that while connecting them we aren’t really able to see through to our destination. We are only guided by our Karma or intense desire or that sacred inner voice in our actions. However when the picture is complete, it all comes back to us as how obviously it was a part of our destiny that we would have connected that dot. How else would the picture have come out in all its glory. What he does warn us though that it’s not all rosy, and the road to such perdition will ask and call for immense sacrifices and will test the will, spirit and soul of the person so desirous.

So, what’s so great about this, one might be tempted to ask. What is so great about dreaming and then believing in your dream and working at it even if the whole world thinks you are crazy to finally live out your dream! Further what has Present Value (PV) calculations got to do with any of this. In case you have read so far of this blog post, I an sure you would have scratched your beard at least once or raised an eyebrow or two or if nothing else twitched inadvertently at the berserk contextual fallacy of this post.

In Warren Buffet’s words investment is ALWAYS for the long term and when we buy shares of a company the way to look at it is not like we are buying some shares of it but we are buying a partnership in the business of the firm. As someone has rightly said (& Prof. Uday Damodaran elegantly pointed out at his SAPM class) A Pessimist is someone who knows the PRICE of everything but the VALUE of nothing. Price has little to do with the fundamental value associated with an object. Valuation of any business thus has to do a lot with these contextual framework and philosophical backbone.

If we sit back and think how does an astute investor make money in the equity markets without retorting to market manipulation. It is by realizing the Hidden Value of a Business. The value of a business which is not recognized by the market yet but is evident to the investor. In other words the dreams of the promoters and the prospects of it coming through not being gauged accurately enough by the investor community in general. The two words in this phrase are of equal importance, ‘Hidden’ and ‘Value’. If the vision of growth and prosperity of any firm is evident to the general community then the current price of the stock would have already factored that in. It needs to be something which has slipped accidentally or more commonly disregarded naively as an achievable and actionable objective. Moreover the Vision of Growth must lead to Value generation. In keeping with the maxims of Shareholder Wealth Maximization (SWM) the new projects undertaken by the firm must be because the management believes it will generate positive Net Present Value (NPV) for the shareholders and not because it is a ‘Pet’ project of the executives. The Present Value (PV) factors in the time weightage of the returns a $100 bill today is more precious than $100 bill bill a 100 years later.

I am sure the mathematics above is not at all pleasing to read, being banal and trivial to say the least. Let’s move into the more interesting aspect of this. The Philosophy side of it. What it essentially means is that the number crunching MBA investor managing wealth should be able to connect to the dreams and aspirations of the entrepreneurial promoter sweating in some remote area across the globe. What it means is that he should be able to gauge the intensity of this man’s psyche towards not letting go of his goals and his dreams midway. (He of course would also need to analyze the reality elements of his dreams, but considering the stock is actually being traded, it does have a decent chance of making it through. What is really in question is how much is the chance!). So while people going about their daily chores need to keep believing in themselves, an Investment Manager will need to believe in other people. He would need to access the chances that the promoter would not chicken out when the market is sloppy or when the tides suddenly turn unfavorable. Because if really has to jettison out from the firm when its going through a rough patch his investment would have been severely impaired.

Add to it the fact that the promoters are mostly over critical of poking investors and aren’t really forthcoming with the true state of the difficulties they might be facing in implementation of the projects and we really have a very difficult job for that ‘Astute Investor’! No wonder then that we just have one Warren Buffet!

Have been Reading the wonderful Foodies Guide to IIMK in the Taste of Heaven Blog. It’s a wonderful compilation with a direct “From the Horse’s Mouth” coverage. I’ve been doing my own Food outlets discovery in this city and decided to put two of mine up too.

Sagar

(A good family restaurant that is light on your pocket and a treat for your taste buds)

INTRODUCTION

If you miss your the bicker & quibble-quabble of your naughty nephews/nieces as you would dine with your extended family, then look no further. A splendid family restaurant catering to local folk who more often than not turn up with their families, its a wonderful change from the aristocracies of Taj and the noise of Sea-Queen. Most importantly, its a place where you can drop over for a sumptuous dinner after you have completed your shopping (Whatever you would have done on that …!) and had some change left which if left unspent would risk making your un-accustomed pockets jingling with coins. Its so damn cheap!!

HAVEs and HAVE-NOTs

For non-Veggies ask for ginger chicken and pathri which is something like rice chappatis but only thinner and tastier (Its like rumali-roti made with rice and of dimensions of a normal roti). Alternatively you could substitute pathri with ‘Appam’ in case you have an eclectic taste, Appam is something like baked version of rice cake and has appearance hybrid between idli in the middle of a small dosa. But, Boy! Does it taste good! If you are too tired of garlic chicken, then try ginger chicken as well. But, by far garlic is the best; ginger comes close. A rider: don’t try much more, its not all that great! For fish lovers, you’ve plenty of choice. Most of the fish curries are delicious if you do not mind the strong aroma of coconut oil.

For Veggies, substitute chicken curry with paneer butter masala and/or mushroom masala, and you got your own winner combo!

LOCATION

Sagar has two branches on two ends of Mavoor road and most often is swarming with people. It has three categories of seating: normal, family & AC. The cost escalation for AC is marginal so taking that is highly recommended!

COST

In all a gluttonous meal will set you back by anything like Rs. 85 to Rs. 120 and with larger numbers the per head cost comes significantly down.

Al-Bake

(The Authentic Arabic Cuisine served at a fraction of the Arabic prices)

INTRODUCTION

The city of Calicut has been known for two things, Vasco-Da-Gama’s Entry and its next-door proximity to the Middle East. How then you would wonder would the city not be served by at least one authentic Arabic food joint? Well with Al-Bake you can put all those qualms at rest. Situated tight in the corner opposite Baby Memorial Hospital, the chain of restaurants are all labeled with bright neon lights so that you cant miss them even if you are doped that you couldn’t differentiate between a dove and a crow! It’s a largely conservative up-market restaurant frequented by most gulf-returned Mallus. Its not too well light but the ambience is quite decent. The space is a bit constricted but the air conditioning and the service more than make up for these minor defeciencies.

HAVEs and HAVE-NOTs

For non-Veggies: Try out any dish, most of them are quite palpable. I had something which tasted like ‘luckhnowi Biryani’. The beauty about this place is that I never came across a single item which was not worth trying out at least once (and maybe twice as well!). Also most food retain their distinct “Arabic” flavor and the customizations to Indian Taste if any are hardly visible to naked eyes. The desert is amazing with Ice cream shakes which are worth dying for. My favirte is the Pista Flavored one.

For Veggies: It has some dishes , but largely there are better avenues where you can try out the food. Skip Al-Bake if you intend to stick to a Veggy meal.

COST

Al-Bake is slightly prier than Sagar but much cheaper than Sea-Queen or Mezbaan. The food is really worth the price they charge and a decent non-veg meal will cost two people Rs. 130-160 per head with a slight lessening with increasing numbers. Look for this place when ARABIC is what you are looking for.

A Rider:
Ambience is Very conservative, so consider a different restaurant if you plan to have a cosy dinner with your lady interest.

Prostituting News

Posted: August 27, 2007 in Gibberish Blabber, MBA Ramblings

Read this

The Journo who wrote this classic piece is the ‘Famed’ editor of B-School Rankings. A kind of guy whose core competency remains marketing shit by posting it as ‘Research Verified and OUTLOOk stamed authentic’. My thoughts on that article follows.

Of course! As C-Fore correctly points out MDI and likes are truly a world class MBA college. Much better than three of the IIMs. Especially when the 8 lakhs siphoned off from students make its way to advertisements in Outlook and the editors of such ranking articles are taken good care of. After-all it’s situated in MY Delhi! That alone suffices.

Minor trivialities like quality of students and level of academics really count for a petty sum. The Weighted Average Value calculation really puts a trivial score of such factors. The fact that most decent profiled professionals who are well placed in life already don’t even care to apply to this institute is due to the Evil Axis spinning IIMs who keep fudging-nudging with the mindsets of people.

And, yeah any institute has the right to force a sloppy job on its students so as to protect its ‘Average Salary Figure’ even if it ends up ruining his prospects of following his dream career path. So MDI really cannot be held at guilt.

After-all the top B-School in the world is SUNY (State University of New York) and not Wharton. You see the reason causing that is the fact that Wharton is in an investment impoverished state of Pennsylvania whereas SUNY is in the Cradle of financial capital of the World, New York! 😀 (I almost fell off my seat laughing)

Thank my stars that policy matters are decided by dumb politicians and not smart journos!!

By the way, I wrote this as a comment on that article. Of course it has a Moderated comment section to ensure that only ‘Proper’ comments are filtered through! Lets see how sportive is Premchand Palety, the self proclaimed expert on B-Schools and the humdrum journalist Prostituting news.
I have written this article with MDI because this institute happens to be a particular favorite with this magazine. I could however have replaced it with many others like IMT/SPJAIN and even government ones like IIFT!

~ ‘There is nothing so PATHETIC as a man with an AMPUTATED SOUL’